2024-03 to 07 Internship report by Christine and Robin

Our time at the MCC began in March and after a few days of settling in, we already had several good ideas to keep the children busy and offer them new experiences.

Shortly before Easter, our first activity began. With the help of the children, we painted and cut out Easter decorations, which were hung up throughout the home to ring in the Easter season. The children also hung many of the rabbits and eggs directly above their beds. A week later we dyed eggs with the children, even though the egg transport was a challenge, the dyeing was a big hello. We labeled some of them with the children’s names and hid them, along with sweets, throughout the MCC and let the children look for them. This project was a complete success, the children had just as much fun searching and finding – they ran through the gate immediately after the Easter service to find everything – as they had later eating the eggs and every child was very happy.

At the beginning of April, we added the missing handprints on the wall on the first floor to complete the hand gallery.

Unexpectedly, the Kenyan school holidays started a week earlier than officially planned, as several government schools ran out of food for the last week.

In order to get the children used to normal everyday life and to get them out of the MCC compound, from which they could hardly get away during the holidays, we planned trips to the supermarket, with children from the fourth grade onwards. We divided these children into four groups and during the excursion each of them received 100 bobs (0.70 EUR) and was allowed to spend them as they wished.

On Saturdays and Wednesdays we walked for about an hour to the nearest supermarket in Nguluni accompanied by Jackson or Susan, on the way back we took the boda-boda. It was exciting to see how differently the individual groups and children searched the supermarket and what they spent their money on. At the same time, the children were also able to apply the mathematics they had learned at school. In the end, almost every child had three to six different items and came out at exactly 100 Bob (0.70 EUR) and the supermarket cashed in on each child individually. The first three groups were able to go as planned, the last group unfortunately could not yet go for the time being due to the heavy rains this year. Overall, the children were very enthusiastic about the supermarket visits and kept asking when it would be their turn. That’s why we will also recommend these excursions to the next volunteers here.

On April 18th, Laura, who spent the first five weeks with us, left us and we organized three events for the children at her request before she flew back to Germany.

The first project was our attempt to cook spaghetti with tomato sauce with the children. Even though we had some problems here, the children liked it very much and at the end of the evening they all enjoyed their spaghetti. The first thing that went wrong was that we underestimated how long the appropriate amount of water would take to cook, which prolonged the evening. In addition, some older children had fun hiding spaghetti or eating it raw and after the long wait until the water boiled and the spaghetti could be eaten, the spaghetti had turned into lumps that were quite far from the traditional Italian dish.

The second event was baking cinnamon rolls with a selected group of children, which was a lot of fun for everyone. Finally, we organized a bonfire for everyone, with smokeys (Kenyan bratwurst) and of course stick bread. The rainy season was just beginning here, so we had to postpone the event by an hour due to an unexpected shower. The bonfire was still a complete success, especially because Jackson and the children had the idea to start the fire on a corrugated iron sheet instead of on the wet grass.

After the first week of vacation, Joseph assigned the children to different groups.

After the cinnamon roll baking with the children was so well received, we decided to give all the children in these groups the opportunity to see the bakery and the production of the buns. Our baker Philipp had the patience of an angel and even let each child help with the entire production process, i.e. kneading dough, weighing dough and shaping buns. Here Philipp had a favorite group, the Ulinzis, which he invited again and again afterwards to help him baking.

Our next project was our biggest yet. When we noticed that the children didn’t even know all the names of the animals that make Kenya so famous in Kiswahili, we had the idea to show them these animals in real life. So after a lot of planning and a lot of support from the management, we took a trip to the Animal Orphanange in Nairobi. A guide explained everything to the children about the different animals that could be seen and their respective background stories in Kiswahili, while monkeys ate the buns we had brought for a picnic through the not closed bus windows.

Luckily, we decided to do the excursion on a Wednesday, because one day later the road to Nairobi was impassable due to the heavy rainfall.

Since we spent a lot more time with the children during the holidays, we also organized some workshops at the MCC.

After seeing that some children used drinking water to wash their cups, we gave lectures to the individual groups about the different types of water (drinking water, rainwater, borehole water, treated water) at the MCC and how  to use them. And we stressed how important clean drinking water is for the country and worldwide.

Another workshop dealt with teaching the children how to take better care of their own and the shared items. In the first few weeks, we had noticed how many toys and school supplies had broken because the children either did not treat them well or even deliberately destroyed them. After the workshops and a long speech by Mercy, in which the destroyed items were shown, the children’s behavior improved, especially at the movie nights, but is still far from perfect.

In sewing workshops, we showed the older children how to get their things in shape and prepared everything for the start of school.

Another holiday highlight was the picnic, where we went out with Nathan and 19 kids and hiked in a loop over the Primary School back to the MCC. The children were exuberant and totally enthusiastic, there were no complaints and even the little ones ran along for three and a half hours in the best of moods. In the end we got into a monster downpour and everyone just thought it was funny – “we are sweating so much!” and it ended in a water fight. Back in the MCC, we showered and the chapati stoves were heated up so that everyone got warm again.

Since then, the other 19 children have been constantly asking when it is their turn, but so far this picnic is unfortunately victim to the floods. We are all hoping we can go next weekend.

Since the children were not allowed to leave the MCC grounds during the holidays due to the flooding – the septic tanks in the area had overflowed and posed a health risk – we concentrated on activities on site. There was a race around the terrain, a scavenger hunt in which they had to determine the next location with the help of maps from the MCC and could only claim their reward after solving a puzzle, and in the evenings football was played in a large team – with Jackson, Boni, Nicholas and Robin as reinforcements – as long as the field was dry enough. We also baked cakes twice, once marble cake from the tray and then lemon-chocolate-raspberry layer cake – wonderfully three-colored!

Since the river on the way to the farm also carried far too much water, the children were not allowed to help on the farm in the morning as originally planned and could not exhaust themselves there, instead the big boys helped with the repair of the washed away access road.

The farm suffered badly from all the rain, which hardly drained, and the flooding, Sukuma Wiki and spinach seedlings rotted, the tomatoes didn’t like the water too much either, only the bananas were happy. Currently, the farm manager Boni is busy replacing the lost plants with purchased seedlings so that the farm can again supply the MCC.

When the cabin fever became too big for the children, we visited the secondary school – Jackson explained everything about water extraction and treatment and started all the machines, Principal Nicholas led them through the boarding area and showed them everything, right down to the clothesline, and then the children wanted to see the computer lab, which he explained to them in detail as well as the science lab. An unexpectedly great success!

In the last month before the holidays, Teacher Beatrice came to the MCC in the evenings to support the children with their homework and to encourage them in a targeted manner. She didn’t come during the holidays, but when the holidays were extended for two weeks, as many schools throughout the country suffered from the consequences of the floods or served as emergency shelters, Teacher Beatrice came for two hours a day. At her suggestion we wrote short words on pieces of paper, the children colored the words full of enthusiasm and now there are colorful words on all the walls to encourage the children to read.

We also got charts with the alphabet, multiplication tables, the animals and sights of Kenya, and a map of Kenya. We used the charts to do quizzes to familiarize the children with their country. Now the charts are hanging in the dining room for everyone to see.

Another action was to present oneself in front of a large audience – i.e. everyone else – and camera. Who am I, what do I like, what do I like to eat most – even the little ones could say a few words in English.

A lot has also changed at the MCC: there is a picture of the respective residents on each bedroom door, there are new benches in the kitchen, so that now everyone can sit and eat at the same time. There are also two new metal benches outside the football field, on which the children love to sit. To provide shade here, we planted six new trees with the children. We came up with this idea through an initiative of President Ruto, who had called for trees to be planted in memory of the flood victims.

The library, which our predecessors had set up in the former kindergarten, was a popular meeting place for the children, and in order to give new input – and to fulfill wishes – we got 17 new books for all ages.

After almost three months in the MCC, a lot has happened, and as a crowning finale, we are planning a swimming trip for Sunday, where the community-based children will also come along. The whole thing is already a big topic of conversation – when who how where…

From the bus driver to the management, we felt welcome from the beginning and gained insights into the tasks of all employees, and we especially like how all employees respond to the children.

After the time we spent here, we can both say that the stay here was a very good and enriching experience and that all the children have grown very close to our hearts during this time.

We would like to thank all donors who made our campaigns possible through their generous gifts.

Christine und Robin

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